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Charges: Bemidji man shot 17-year-old girl after she told him not to ride mower in her yard

Posted: 07/23/2014 8:49 PM | Comments: 0

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BEMIDJI, Minn. - A northern Minnesota man was charged Wednesday with shooting a 17-year-old girl several times after authorities say she told him not to ride his lawn mower through her yard.

Chad Pickering, 40, of Bemidji appeared in Beltrami County court on a felony charge of attempted first-degree murder. Bail was set at $300,000.

Pickering shot the teen three times as she stood on the deck of her home Monday night, the criminal complaint said. The teen was shot in her chest, right thigh and left ankle. She was taken to a Duluth hospital.

Pickering is due back in court Monday. A phone message left for his public defender was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Records show Pickering is in custody in the Beltrami County Jail. A message left on the jail's voicemail for inmates was not immediately returned.

The teen told authorities she had gone outside to tie up her barking dog when she saw the shadow of someone crouching in the yard. She said she heard three gunshots and felt bullets striking her. The teen said she fell on the deck and had to pull herself into the house, because she could not walk, to call 911.

Investigators said they found three spent .45-calibre shells in the grass near the deck. Authorities also found an area about 75 to 100 feet south of the home where someone apparently had been lying in the grass beneath a pine tree.

According to the complaint, the girl told investigators that a man who lived nearby had been riding his mower through her yard and that he routinely carried a pistol in his holster. She said she had spoken to him about trespassing and that he denied trespassing on her property.

Officers searched Pickering's home and found a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol with a holster in an air vent, the complaint said. Pickering was arrested and told investigators he had not seen the gun in a week or so. When officers noticed a fresh grass strain on the front of Pickering's jeans, he said he may have gotten the stain kneeling down to hook the trailer to his mower, the complaint said.

When authorities pointed out inconsistencies in his statement, Pickering said he had taken his children for a ride with the mower and that after he returned home a girl came to the front door and confronted him about trespassing, the complaint said. Pickering told investigators he went to her house, knelt by a pine tree and shot her twice after she came out the front door, according to the complaint.

Pickering said he returned home after the shooting and put the gun and holster in the vent, the complaint said.

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